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Nadhim Zahawi replaces Gavin Williamson as education secretary

By Rachel Lawler

Nadhim Zahawi has replaced Gavin Williamson as education secretary in the Prime Minister's cabinet reshuffle.Nadhim Zahawi education minister

Writing on Twitter, Williamson confirmed his departure, commenting: "It has been a privilege to serve as education secretary since 2019. Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, I’m particularly proud of the transformational reforms I’ve led in Post 16 education: in further education colleges, our Skills agenda, apprenticeships and more.

"This programme will create better life opportunities for pupils and students for many years to come. I look forward to continuing to support the Prime Minster and the government."

Nadhim Zahawi has been named as his replacement after being promoted from his role as parliamentary under-secretary of state for COVID-19 vaccine deployment.

Minister for early years
Zahawi previously served as parliamentary under-secretary of state in the department for Education in 2018, with responsbility for the early years.

Zahawi left that role in 2019 to join the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy before taking on responsibility for the vaccine roll-out in November 2020.

Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “We welcome Nadhim Zahawi's appointment as education secretary and look forward to working closely with him in his new role. There is no doubt that he takes over the Department for Education at a critical time, with the Spending Review just weeks away. 

"For far too long, the early years has not been given the same respect or recognition as schools, colleges or universities, and this has undoubtedly been reflected in the sustained lack of support – both financial and practical – that the sector has received over recent months and years. 

“Given his previous post as early years minister, Mr Zahawi's appointment marks the opportunity for a new approach, one in which the early years is finally recognised and valued as an integral part of the education sector. We hope that he will embrace this opportunity and look forward to working with him in the months to come.”  

Spending review
Elsewhere, Rishi Sunak remained in his role as Chancellor ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review next month and Michael Gove was promoted from his role as chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, with responsibility for "levelling up".